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Appearing in "Tentacles"

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Synopsis for "Tentacles"

Wracked with pain from the poison coursing through his body, Spider-Man web-slings across the city. As he does so, he is unaware that he is being observed by the mystery man known as Kaine, who knows some sinister secret about the wall-crawler. Trying to ignore the pain, Spider-Man is suddenly struck with a foreign memory, an image of himself growing in a cloning tank.[Continuity 1] This causes Spider-Man to lose consciousness and he falls down onto a rooftop above him. Spider-Man's body is discovered by his old foe Doctor Octopus. He has been watching Spider-Man since his most recent escape from the Vault, and he has noticed that the hero has changed and he doesn't like what he sees.[Continuity 2] He thinks of their long-standing rivalry, and it causes him to wonder when he truly became Doctor Octopus. Was it during his first battle with Spider-Man, or was it years earlier thanks to an abusive father and smothering mother.[Continuity 3] Having learned that the Vulture had succeeded in poisoning Spider-Man, he wanted to see the truth for himself.[Continuity 4] Saddened by the state of his foe, Doctor Octopus decides to leave the wall-crawler to live out whatever life he has left so he can resume his current schemes. When Spider-Man finally wakes up, he is unaware of his encounter with Doctor Octopus, or that Kaine is still watching him. He is about ready to surrender to the fact that he was dying when he realizes that there is someone he can go to for help.

Meanwhile, a voluptuous woman calling herself Stunner walks into a Manhattan bar called Lucky's, getting the attention of its all-male clientele. She revels in this attention, accusing these men of being adulterers and wife-beaters. When she asks them who is man enough to handle her, they are all speechless, just as she suspected. In response, Stunner trashes the entire bar. When the bartender reaches for his shotgun, Stunner is joined by Doctor Octopus who threatens to disembowel him if he shoots. Surprisingly, Octavius pays for the damage done to the bar before taking Stunner and leaving. They return to Otto's penthouse apartment, where Stunner asks if he is upset with her for what happened at the bar. Quite the contrary, Otto explains, saying that she is the best thing that has ever happened to him. He explains that he is upset about what has happened to Spider-Man. He explains that regardless of his hatred of his old foe, he always saw him as an honorable man, full of intelligence and good humor. However, it now seems that the Spider-Man of old is gone, and all that is left is a humorless thug, a persona -- much like what Doctor Octopus believes himself to have become. Otto then realizes how much he depended on Spider-Man to maintain a certain level of humanity. Stunner tries to cheer Otto up by telling him that everything he expects out of Spider-Man, she already sees in him. Suddenly, Stunner feels a strange sensation and tells him that she needs to go, but promises to be back. Despite Otto's protests, Stunner suddenly disappears. At first, Otto rages, but this eventually leads to despair.

Later that evening, Mary Jane returns home from her trip to Pittsburgh.[Continuity 5] She discovers that her husband, Peter Parker, is not surprised given the state of their marriage.[Continuity 6] However, she refuses to walk away when Peter is going through so much.[Continuity 7] Seeing the mess in the kitchen, she decides that she is too exhausted to deal with it and goes to bed. She briefly considers calling the hospital to see how May is doing, but is too tired for that even and goes to bed.[Continuity 8]

At this time, Spider-Man has forced himself awake and decides that the only thing he can do is go home to his wife so he doesn't spend his final moments alone. It's then that his mind is assaulted with the image of Peter Parker in a cloning tank. He screams for the image to get out of his head and loses his balance. He almost falls over the edge of the building, but he is caught by Stunner. However, she only saved his life so she could defeat the wall-crawler with himself. Too weak to fight back, Spider-Man takes a serious beating from Stunner, who is unimpressed with the battle. She is stopped by Doctor Octopus, who arrives on the scene before she can kill his old foe. He realizes that there is something seriously wrong with Spider-Man. He thought the wall-crawler's illness was being faked, but now intends to find out what to do next. He then unmasks the web-slinger and is surprised to see that Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker.[Continuity 9]

This story is continued in Spectacular Spider-Man #220...


Continuity Notes

Web of Death
Amazing Spider-Man #397 Spectacular Spider-Man #220 Amazing Spider-Man #398 Spectacular Spider-Man #221
  1. These visions are an attempt to confuse Ben and Peter into wondering who is the clone and who is the real Spider-Man. These are revealed to be memories implanted into their minds by the Jackal in the Smoke and Mirrors story arc.
    Smoke and Mirrors
    Web of Spider-Man #122 Amazing Spider-Man #399 Spider-Man #56 Spider-Man The Clone Journal #1

  2. Spider-Man has been acting more viciously than in the past, particularly following the events of Amazing Spider-Man #391393.
  3. Doctor Octopus first battled Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #3. His troubled childhood was first explored in Spider-Man Unlimited #3.
  4. The Vulture poisoned Spider-Man during the Back from the Edge storyline.
    Back From the Edge
    Spider-Man Unlimited #7 Amazing Spider-Man #395 Spectacular Spider-Man #218 Amazing Spider-Man #396 Spectacular Spider-Man #219


  5. Mary Jane went to Pittsburgh in order to reconnect with her family in Amazing Spider-Man #394.
  6. Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage is erased from existence by Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple here.
  7. Peter has been going through an identity crisis since the revelation that the people posing his parents were impostors (Amazing Spider-Man #388) and his Aunt May suffering a stroke (Amazing Spider-Man #391).
  8. It should pointed out that the woman who Mary Jane thinks is in the hospital is not really Aunt May. She was swapped out with an impostor sometime in Amazing Spider-Man #392 as revealed in Spider-Man #97.
  9. Although Doctor Octopus discovers Spider-Man's double identity here, he will be made to forget it following his first death in Spectacular Spider-Man #221. This is because when he is later resurrected in Amazing Spider-Man #427, the process was conducted using brain engrams taken prior to Otto discovering who Spider-Man really is.

Chronology Notes

Characters in this story also appear in other stories between this issue. The affected characters are:
Spider-Man (Peter Parker)

See Also

Links and References


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